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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Day 310: Why Does Psychology Ignore Blatant Evidence?

So I am studying Abnormal Psychology, which looks at the possible reasons why abnormal behaviour/syndromes exist. One theory considers sociocultural factors as being the primary influence on the development of people, including gender, culture, socioeconomic class and race/ethnicity. It is clearly stated in the book I am reading from that the journal of Psychological disorders, the Diagnostic Manual of Mental Disorders, has identified 25 culture-bound syndromes - meaning syndromes that are unique to a specific culture. For example, there is a Japanese disorder called taijin kyofusho, where the affected person fears that his/her body parts/functions are offensive to other people due to appearance, odor, or movements. Another one is Ataque de nervios, specific to Latinos from the Caribbean and includes symptoms like uncontrolled shouting, seizure-like episodes, trembling and crying. The book continues to say that it is clear that people's cultural experiences are important factors in the manifestation of mental disorders. Way to downplay the importance of this realization: that we are shaped by that which surrounds us.

The other theories include biological, psychological and social factors. The problem with these other theories is that they do not consider that these factors, aside from possibly the biological, are consequences, or manifestations deriving from the environmental influences. Our thoughts are shaped by our environments, and therefore psychological factors which influence behaviour are secondary to the environmental factors. Social factors are a part of our environments (family, friends, school etc) and so those could just be merged together.

Biological considerations is where this may get tricky. Yes, the "sins of the fathers" are passed down to each generation - but this can be overcome, and therefore it comes back down to environmental influences which may or may not support the individual to not manifest the inherited "disorders".

So why do psychologists not recognize this simple truth, which some of them have already touched on? Could it be because they are so wrapped up in their own opinions and ideas of what psychology should be about that they refuse to consider any other option? Might it be because the environment that shaped them did so in such a way that their opinions and beliefs were only ever going to be a certain way? Might it be because the things that shape all of us, do so in a way that we will only ever consider that which is beneficial to us and that will allow us to continue living the belief we have of ourselves and the world?

Has anyone ever considered that psychologists are just like everyone else: clueless as to how the world works and how the human functions and why? It seems not. If anyone has asked about this, their words will most likely have been silenced or ridiculed as "extremist" and "conspiratorial" so that the collective illusion we exist within is not shattered.

Is this all there is to life? Will we really continue believing that what "experts" say must be true, because they spent years being brainwashed - I mean trained?

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